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Incomprehensible inadequacy of collective response


Living with Incomprehension and Uncertainty (Part #11)


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Incomprehension is frequently evoked by the inability of "authorities", "government" or the "international community" to respond effectively to problematic situations -- whether to anticipate them, to manage any crisis response, or to deal with the aftermath. This includes the apparent inability to learn from similar events in the past and even to abuse any faith in the capacity of authorities.

Recent examples reviewed have included:

The situation is highlighted by blinkered advocacy of purportedly remedial technologies. The "blinkering" is then an indication of incomprehension -- reframed in terms of irrelevant externalities (Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization (GOATS), 2008; Reintegration of a Remaindered World: Cognitive recycling of objects of systemic neglect, 2011).

The problematic situation of society appears all the more incomprehensible for those articulating remedial proposals in the light of collective indifference to them and the lack of uptake -- if they are not deprecated as problematic in their own right, or considered meaningless and irrelevant. Many of the thousands of strategies advocated by international constituencies, as profiled in the Global Strategies Project, could be seen in this light. An "awful" implication of the experience of major libraries, as mentioned above, is that they hold the proposals of many who experienced incomprehension at the lack of their collective appreciation -- as with the "wise" whose insights have been ignored.

Efforts to clarify this "incomprehensible" pattern include:

There is seemingly no adequate approach to such incomprehension or to the manner in which faith in authority is eroded by the tokenism in which it so frequently indulges. The situation is exacerbated by the injunctions, game-playing, denial of responsibility and finger-pointing by those who claim to "know" (Monkeying with Global Governance: emergent dynamics of three wise monkeys, 2011). The challenge has been partly articulated by Donald Michael (Leadership's shadow: the dilemma of denial, Futures 26, 10, Dec 1994) as separately discussed (The Future of Leadership: reframing the unknown, 1994).


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